Marjorie R. Kaufman (1922 - 2012)

  • "Five years & a few days after Marjorie Kaufman's death,..."
    - Karen Kelly Becker '65
  • "Ms. Kaufman is how I think of Marjorie - a wise woman. In a..."
    - Cynthia Aziz '82
  • "Miss Kaufman was my Freshmen English Composition teacher. ..."
    - Alix Paschen Pratt
  • "I still tell the following story: I was a student in Prof...."
    - Edie Quinby '91
  • "She was my freshman advisor and one of the most memorable..."
    - Elizabeth Burton

SOUTH HADLEY - The Mount Holyoke College and wider town community are mourning the loss of Marjorie R. Kaufman, a beloved member since 1954, who passed away on Oct. 30, 2012.

She was born May 24, 1922, in Milwaukee, Wis., to Nathan and Helen Kaufman. Her father instilled in her a lifelong sense of community service and her own ebullient personality and sharp intellect contributed to the warm esteem she enjoyed from generations of college students, colleagues and friends.
As former students who became dear friends will testify, her gift for teaching was matched by her gift for friendship. In both, her generosity of spirit shone through every honest critique and every kind gesture.

Marjorie was educated at the University of Wisconsin and the University of Washington and received her Ph.D in English Literature for a dissertation on Henry James from the University of Minnesota.

She loved to communicate her enthusiasm for literature and never quite gave up teaching even after her retirement from the College. She was a founding member in 1989 of the Five College Learning in Retirement Program. Her commitment to lifelong learning led her to be a propelling member of the College's Frances Perkins program for mature students and eventually to lead several groups in Reading and Poetry Writing for the wider community's senior population. In the Reading group she tackled Homer, Cervantes and Proust with her usual care and delight, bringing these 'worthy' works to life in her inimitable way until after her 90th birthday.

She was proud to be elected as a County Commissioner for the years 1995-1998, and she served continuously as a town meeting member since 1988. Her wry comment on that role was that it was a "matter of putting my seat where my mouth's been!" It was still important to her in 2011, to the extent that she gave up an opera ticket to attend an all-day meeting.

She is survived by her goddaughter Kerry Dinh and her family of Northampton.
A service to celebrate her remarkable life will be held on a date to be announced.

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Published in Daily Hampshire Gazette on Nov. 2, 2012